How & Where Onions are Grown

From Seed to Table

Onions are grown commercially in more than 20 states, literally border-to-border and coast-to-coast. The National Onion Association estimates that less than 1,000 growers produce onions commercially in the United States, including organic. Virtually all onion producers grow other agricultural crops.

The word "miracle" aptly describes a seed.

Jack Kramer

From planting through harvest, onions are unique plants. Let us help you learn more about how they grow through pictures!


Domestic Onion Production

U.S. farmers plant approximately 125,000 acres of onions each year and produce about 6.2 billion pounds a year. This includes organic production, but excludes bulb onions for dehydration.

The U.S. has 4.5% of the world's population, accounts for 1.6% of the world onion acreage, and produces about 4% of the world's annual supply. The U.S. dry bulb onion crop value exceeds $1 billion at farmgate and generates $5-7 billion dollars at consumer purchase level.

The top three onion producing areas are California, Idaho-Eastern Oregon, and Washington. See table the below for U.S. onion acreage and production details.

U.S. Planted Onion Acreage Estimates

State

Acres

Washington

23,828

Idaho-Eastern Oregon

19,800

California

18,150

Georgia

12,700

New York

10,250

Texas

9,500

West/Central Oregon

6,175

New Mexico

5,500

Colorado

5,138

Nevada

3,100

Michigan

3,000

Wisconsin

1,875

Utah

1,575

N. Dakota/S. Dakota/Minn./Ohio

1,110

Other (AZ, FL, IA, IL, IN, MA, NC, NE, NJ, PA, SC, etc.)

795

U.S. Planted Onion Volume Estimates

State

Pounds

Washington

1,441,550,000

Idaho-Eastern Oregon

1,415,500,000

California

932,300,000

New York

410,100,000

West/Central Oregon

377,750,000

New Mexico

286,200,000

Colorado

260,000,000

Georgia

243,800,000

Nevada

235,000,000

Texas

234,000,000

Michigan

91,500,000

Utah

78,750,000

Wisconsin

56,250,000

N. Dakota/S. Dakota/Minn./Ohio

38,550,000

Other (AZ, FL, IA, IL, IN, MA, NC, NE, NJ, PA, SC, etc.)

26,650,000


International Onion Production and Trade

Approximately 170 countries grow onions for their own domestic use, and many are also involved in international trade. It is estimated that over 9.2 million acres of onions are harvested annually around the World. This production is grown from more than 8 million pounds of seed. Production is in excess of 3.2 billion 50# units according to sources at the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome, Italy. Approximately 8 percent of this global onion production is traded internationally. Leading onion production countries are China, India, United States, Turkey, and Pakistan, respectively.

Onion Exports

U.S. onion exports amount to 11 - 14 million fifty pound bags per year. Leading export countries for the U.S. are Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Taiwan.

Onion Imports

U.S. onion imports total 12 - 17 million 50 pound bags annually. Leading countries importing into the U.S. are Mexico, Canada, Peru, and Chile.


Food Safety

In 2010, the U.S. onion industry developed voluntary commodity specific food safety guidelines for the dry bulb onion supply chain. This document serves as guidance for growers and shippers to adhere to best practices and regulations governing safe vegetable production. The industry supports government efforts to provide a strong food safety regulatory framework that assures the public appropriate standards are in place and being met by the dry bulb onion supply chain.

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